The bathroom will now be a place where you can lie and journey to places which indeed exist but not in our time. A time when Papua New Guinea was massively out of proportion, when ships were firing cannons at each other (oh, wait, they still do), when the Suez Canal had not yet been dug, and strange sea creatures surrounded Iceland. Magellan had just failed to return on his journey on the Victoria, pictured below. Or rather, the Victoria returned with all the information, but Magellan himself didn’t. You can’t have everything. The imagined coastline of Terra Australis in yellow underneath the Victoria, which connected with Tierra del Fuego in South America. Of course.
There are explanaitons covering Iceland and it is needed. Such a complex place, with danger in volcanoes, poral bears on icefloes, animals which will kill you if you eat them, glaciers, seacows. Rudimentary knowledge of latin helps here. Pour more hot water in the bath, the perpetual nives is making me cold!
And no, I haven’t made any of it up. It is all a gridded copy of Abraham Ortelius maps, with maybe just a little rearranging of ships to fit, and cropping. The little fat thing with horns below, for instance. I take no responsibility, blame Ortelius. It is possible that I am repeating myself, I have written about the maps before and it will probably not be the last time either.
I have been busy. Also, I have been excruciatingly slow, but in the end, I think it was worth it. I now only have a few minor things to do before the bathtub is complete. For now, here is a tiny preview. The gargoyle spout is a glazed ceramic head I have named Mr Tumnus, because he really does look like him. I made three heads when I was on the go, one was particularily fetching and rather looked like President Nixon. He actually exploded in the kiln during firing, breaking a number of things as he went. When you fire handbuilt stuff, any air bubbles trapped in the dried clay can have that effect. Shattering with violence. So, no Nixon for me. The third is installed in the wall of the library as the exit point for the speaking tube, below. The speaking tube caused me massive trouble. The pipes are laid under the floor and once it is in, it is in and can’t be changed without enormous trouble. Too much trouble. Hence, I have been standing in the hardware plumbing department speaking into different pipes asking the staff ”Can you hear better with this? Or this?” I have had no answers. In the end I went with polypipe of maybe an inch diameter. Que sera. Well, it is now in and I can declare that it works, but you have to speak up. Your voice will appear in the library, sounding like you are sitting in a padded box.
I had guests test it. You can say things like ”GIVE ME ANOTHER DRINK” or even ”TURN THE RECORD OVER”. There is a turntable just outside the wall, as I will soon demonstrate. The tiles are copies of Ortelius maps, with the gargoyle sitting right on the text for Terra Australis and its vague, loosely imagined coastline. Can’t get enough maps, especially medieval ones. I am also thrilled to have a new lamp in operation. Wiring! Plumbing! The bliss of a modern world, even if the tiled maps date back to the 1500’s. Here is where the record player sound will come. The recordplayer was a gift from a friend, along with the vinyl collection. Hence it is a little one sided but I might add to it in time. Gloria Gaynor! Village People! Can’t stop the music… The other side of this wall is a little hallway, where I have now built a shelf for things like Gloria Gaynor, Inez Jacobsen wellies (do go for a walk in the rain) and my father’s fez which he aquired in Egypt many years ago.Since we have now left the bathroom for the hall, here is the butler who is most helpful with your every wish, as long as that wish is to hold your umbrella. Today I bought him a hat, but he will graciously let you borrow it. His name is James, after a friend with whom he has a resemblance. Incidentally, the very same friend who gave me the records. Close up of his hand. I carved it out of construction pine, 90×45 and stuck a hinge at the elbow.
I went hat shopping at Upstairs at Alpha, which is on Vincent Street. They sell new and vintage, mixed. Always something exciting to find. The bowler was not enough, I also picked up the black and white number below. Stylish, handsome! Maybe even a little suave. Whilst I was building the shelves, I also added a little seat where the kindling basket can live. Cushions from Sweden.